STANWOOD — Mountain Top Ministries Pastor Emmit Glanz has his sights set on growing observance of the National Day of Prayer in the Stanwood and Camano Island area.
When Glanz first attended the local National Day of Prayer event in 1999, about a dozen people were there. Since then, he has used his background in public relations to steadily increase the number of participants.
Next month, he expects up to 200 people to turn out for the Stanwood event. Local organizers have added those affected by the Oso mudslide to this year’s list of people to pray for.
“I’m convinced our nation is desperately in need of prayer,” said Glanz, 88. “We’re at a crossroads. We’re either going to go back to the biblical roots on which this nation was founded or become a godless nation.”
National Day of Prayer events are scheduled to take place in cities across the U.S.
The 2014 theme is “One Voice, United in Prayer.” This year’s scripture, Romans 15:6, was chosen to highlight the theme.
Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, was selected as the national 2014 honorary chairwoman. She wrote a prayer for people to read simultaneously throughout the country during the event. “It’s an excellent prayer,” Glanz said. “We’ll pray it in unison.”
Shirley Dobson, the wife of James Dobson, the evangelical Christian author, psychologist and founder of Focus on the Family, was chosen to be the national prayer leader. Dobson has held that post for the past several years.
Locally, Ed McDowell, director of Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, is set to lead the group in the opening prayer as master of ceremonies.
Organizers then plan to break into smaller groups to pray for various things, including schools, churches, families, businesses, media, military, first responders and Oso landslide victims.
“This year, for the first time, we’re going to pray for the nation of Israel,” Glanz said. “The Bible instructs us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
For Glanz, the event is about returning a moral foundation to the country and establishing a personal relationship with God.
“It’s to talk to him, to bring our concerns to him and to ask his advice,” he said. “We do that through prayer.”
Glanz and about a dozen volunteers have been working on the event since February. They have arranged for several religious leaders and state Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, to guide the group in various prayers.
Glanz said he also with about 20 other local pastors to organize and promote the event.
The observance is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. May 1 in the parking lot at Haggen Food &Pharmacy, located at 26603 72nd Ave. NW in Stanwood.
Glanz said he was proud that a local paper dubbed the event a tradition last year.
“It warmed my heart,” he said. “Since it’s become a traditional event, we’re looking forward to a greater turnout.”
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.